Quote Of The Year

Timeless Quotes - Sadly The Late Paul Shetler - "Its not Your Health Record it's a Government Record Of Your Health Information"


H. L. Mencken - "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

Monday, October 08, 2018

Weekly Australian Health IT Links – 8th October, 2018.

Here are a few I have come across the last week or so. Note: Each link is followed by a title and a few paragraphs. For the full article click on the link above title of the article. Note also that full access to some links may require site registration or subscription payment.

General Comment

Below the surface there are actually a few things going on. Well worth scanning the headlines for items of interest.

Join up systems and urgently upgrade incident reporting platform, parliamentary inquiry tells NSW Health

Lynne Minion | 03 Oct 2018
NSW Health’s incident reporting system needs to be urgently upgraded and the integration of platforms throughout the public health system improved, a parliamentary inquiry into the state’s healthcare delivery has found.
The Incident Information Management System, which is used by staff to report adverse events in NSW public hospitals including medication errors and surgeries on the wrong part of the body, as well as near-misses and complaints, is beset by "known shortcomings", according to the inquiry.
More than 10,000 clinical incidents are reported each month via IIMS, relating mostly to falls and issues with diagnosis, treatment, drugs and intravenous fluids, but the Public Accounts Committee heard evidence that the system rolled out in 2005 was "malfunctioning and unreliable".

DORA the ignorer: Prescription-tracking system failing to monitor all high-risk addictive drugs

Diazepam, quetiapine and fluoxetine contributed to ex-Navy submariner's death, says coroner
2nd October 2018
A coroner has stressed the need for real-time script-tracking software to cover addictive schedule 4 drugs such as diazepam and quetiapine, not just opioids.
The Tasmanian coroner made the comments after investigating the 2014 death of 44-year-old ex-Navy submariner Michael Allan Steer, who died from a toxic combination of prescription medication.
Toxicology analysis revealed the presence of diazepam, quetiapine, fluoxetine, paracetamol and codeine.
Since 2012, GPs in Tasmania have had access to DORA, a real-time prescription monitoring system, which was introduced to help prevent prescription drug misuse.

Real time monitoring launches in Vic

Australia’s first comprehensive real-time monitoring system, SafeScript, is going live this week

Victoria’s Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, and clinicians from Ballarat Health Services announced Monday that the system would roll out from Tuesday, October 2, in the Western Victoria Primary Health Network.
PHNs across the rest of the state are expected to gain access to it next year.
SafeScript will monitor all Schedule 8 medicines such as morphine and oxycodone, which carry the highest risk of misuse, as well as other medicines of concern such as codeine and diazepam.
At the launch, Ms Hennessy highlighted the fact that deaths caused by prescription medicine misuse have outnumbered the road toll in Victoria for the past six years.
In 2017, 414 Victorians died as a result of prescription medicine overdoses.

Death prompts call to expand Tasmanian prescription monitoring system

Thea Cowie | 05 Oct 2018
The scope and uptake of Tasmania's real-time prescription monitoring (RTPM) system should be expanded to better protect the community, the state's coroner has recommended.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart made the recommendations regarding Tasmania's webpage-based information system – the Drugs and Poisons Information System Online Remote Access (DORA) – following her investigation into the 2014 death of 44-year-old Michael Allan Steer.
She found that the cause of the ex-Navy submariner's death was mixed drug toxicity, with a post-mortem showing quetiapine in the toxic range, as well as codeine, diazepam, fluoxetine and paracetamol.

NSW Health plots statewide IaaS networking shift

By Justin Hendry on Oct 4, 2018 11:45AM

Starting with Westmead pilot.

NSW Health is planning to transition the state’s hospitals to as-a-service networking offerings, which it will test with a pilot at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital Precinct.
Dubbed the health grade enterprise network (HGEN), the project intends to bring together and replace ageing and inconsistent local infrastructure in Local Health Districts (LHDs).
Data networks across hospital campuses are currently “developed on a site-by-site, LHD-by-LHD basis”, which NSW Health says makes consistency “difficult”.
A consistent, interoperable IT environment is a key activity for the department as it progesses with the implementation of its 10-year e-health strategy.
October 4 2018 - 2:40PM

Free after hours GP advice trialed in Katherine – by phone/video

·         Chris McLennan
Talk to a doctor for free after hours.
A telehealth service will be trialed in Katherine in place of face-to-face after hours visits to a doctor.
A new service will offer Katherine residents and visitors after-hours consultations with a doctor at no charge.
Most Katherine residents are forced to attend the hospital’s accident and emergency clinic since funding for an after hours clinic in town ran out several years ago.
Residents and visitors in postcode areas 0850 (Katherine township) and 0853 (Tindal) can now access a doctor after-hours via phone or video.

E-health blood tests with results delivered online ‘expensive’ and ‘misleading’ says AMA

Annabel Hennessy, The Daily Telegraph
October 2, 2018 8:43am
A MEDICAL company spruiking $239 wellness blood tests with results delivered online has been accused of promoting unnecessary procedures that could mislead people about their health.
NSW AMA president Dr Kean-Seng Lim has slammed new company I-Screen Australia’s “wellness check” for “taking real tests out of context” and making misleading statements about their abilities to detect illnesses.
I-Screen claims its “Well Woman Check” and “Well Man Check” blood tests “cover all the essentials to help give you peace of mind when it comes to your health”.
The tests, such as those spruiked in the advertisement below, are ordered online and carried out at participating pathology centres.

Patients’ heavy records cost hospital $11m

  • 12:00AM October 3, 2018
About 2000 medical records will continue to be delivered daily to the new $2.4 billion Royal Adelaide Hospital from private storage sites because the “paper-light” design means the hospital’s floors cannot withstand the weight of patient files.
The South Australian government yesterday approved a three-year extension for off-site storage of paper records, following more delays to the rollout of the state’s troubled electronic record system.
This comes as nurses meet this week to discuss possible industrial action over crowded hospital emergency departments.
The $10.9 million contract extension for storage means more than two million paper patient records will continue to be kept at four off-site facilities across Adelaide and delivered to public hospitals as required.

What happens when a GP refuses to accept any more faxes?

Doug Hendrie 2/10/2018 11:54:58 AM
Dr Oliver Frank says GPs have great influence in nudging healthcare towards the digital age.
Removing the fax machine from healthcare has been difficult due to its relative security and interoperability.
In the internet era, the fax seems to be an anachronism.
Yet healthcare remains the last redoubt of the humble machine.
The issue flared this year when a Victorian coroner took aim at the old technology after a man died because vital health information was faxed to the wrong number.
But, for all its faults, removing the fax machine from healthcare has been difficult due to its relative security and interoperability.

OK computer: is it ethical to allow AI to determine when patients should die?

An algorithm analysing Facebook can outperform a spouse in predicting a person's personality trait, say researchers
4th October 2018
A question. For a patient with advanced dementia, do you think it would be acceptable for artificial intelligence in the form of a computer algorithm to make medical decisions on their behalf, including the decision to cease treatment altogether?
This may seem like the Logan’s Run thought experiment, where life and premature death is decided for you, but an article in the AMA Journal of Ethics argues that computer-based surrogate decision-makers are not just acceptable but preferable.
From studies, it turns out that when family members are asked to predict a loved one’s treatment preferences, such as surgery for prostate cancer, they are wrong 33% of the time.
This is no better than being guided by the results of a population survey.

DTA to rethink myGov

By Justin Hendry on Oct 3, 2018 6:47AM

Future platform will be designed around 'life events'.

The federal government's myGov platform is set to undergo one of the most comprehensive rethinks since its inception in a bid to offer users better and more proactive online services.
The central authentication platform used by citizens to access government services and correspondence has been a one-stop shop for online services since 2013.
It currently provides access to 11 federal and state government services, including Centrelink, Medicare and the My Health Record, for just under 14 million users.
The platform received a makeover in mid-2017 after users reported issues finding the services they needed.

World-first electronic capsule could diagnose gut troubles

The vitamin-sized pill measures gases along the intestinal tract
2nd October 2018
A gut health check could soon be as easy as swallowing a pill.
An RMIT-developed electronic capsule could revolutionise how gut disorders — including irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis — are diagnosed.
The world-first patented technology could be available within four years, with clinical trials being pursued by Melbourne start-up Atmo Biosciences.
When swallowed, the vitamin-sized capsule moves through the gastrointestinal system, and sends information via a handheld device and mobile app to doctors.

Burnt out? Just hire a scribe, study suggests

Doctors report it cuts unpaid working time and increases satisfaction
Antony Scholefield
5th October 2018
Doctor burnout is a global issue. And e-health is a major factor, with US studies showing that doctors spend two hours on the computer for every one hour of actual patient care.
This will be no shock to Aussie doctors. But how can the problem be fixed?
It’s simple, according to JAMA Internal Medicine. Just give every doctor a “medical scribe” to do their computer work for them.

HiNZ conference growth shows digital health has hit the mainstream

5 October, 2018
eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth
Clinicians are the biggest driver in the growth of the HiNZ Conference, with the 2018 event expected to be the biggest yet, says HiNZ chief executive Kim Mundell.
Around 1000 delegates are expected at this year’s HiNZ Conference, running from Wednesday 21 November to Friday 23 November.
The event, held at Wellington’s TSB Arena and Shed 6, will also boast its largest ever exhibition hall, with 93 booths.
Mundell says the growth of the conference year on year shows that digital health has moved out of the early adopter stage and into the mainstream.

Limiting kids’ screen time to 2 hours maximises learning

Limiting recreational screen time to less than 2 hours a day, and having sufficient sleep and physical activity is associated with improved cognition, compared with not meeting any recommendations, according to a study published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend at least 60 minutes physical activity per day, 2 hours or less recreational screen time per day, and 9–11 hours sleep per night in children aged 8–11 years. The Canadian study investigators obtained data from a cross-sectional observational study including 4524 US children aged 8–11 years from 20 study sites. Children and parents completed questionnaires and measures at the outset of the trial to estimate the child’s physical activity, sleep and screen time. Children also completed a cognition test, which assessed language abilities, episodic memory, executive function, attention, working memory and processing speed. The study controlled for household income, parental and child education, ethnicity, pubertal development, body mass index and whether the child had had a traumatic brain injury. Taken individually, limited screen time and improved sleep were associated with the strongest links to improved cognition, while physical activity may be more important for physical health.

New Data Platform Accelerates Development of Healthcare Applications to Manage World's Most Critical Information

InterSystems IRIS for Health™ is the world's first and only data platform engineered specifically for healthcare

SYDNEY, Aust., October 3, 2018 – InterSystems, a global leader in information technology platforms for health, business and government applications, today announced the launch of InterSystems IRIS for Health™, designed to deliver fast and sustainable value to organisations developing data-intensive healthcare applications. InterSystems IRIS for Health is the world’s first and only data platform specifically engineered to extract value from healthcare data, empowering developers to rapidly create and scale the industry’s next breakthrough applications.
Data is at the heart of the digital transformation sweeping healthcare. As the volume and variety of healthcare data continues to increase, the capacity of human decision making is being challenged. To cope with this dramatic shift, healthcare applications require technology that can unlock the vast potential hidden away in the data. InterSystems IRIS for Health provides that foundation.

Peter Mac looks to the cloud to supercharge tech help for cancer treatment

Staff writer | 04 Oct 2018
World-leading Australian cancer institute Peter Mac has announced the deployment of two new cloud-hosted systems to replace a suite of multiple systems and supercharge precision medicine in Australia.
The cancer research, education and treatment centre operates the only public hospital dedicated to caring for people living with cancer in Melbourne and has partnered with Varian to introduce Eclipse as its treatment planning system and Velocity as its oncology imaging informatics system.
Peter Mac Radiation Therapy Services Director Nilgun Touma said the institute had previously run multiple treatment planning systems across each of their radiation therapy sites but this was a step into the future.

Rights groups and tech giants form alliance to fight encryption bill

Strength in numbers or getting 'in bed with the evil empire'?
George Nott (Computerworld) 03 October, 2018 08:49
Digital Rights Watch, the Human Rights Law Centre, Amnesty International and Access Now have joined forces with a number of industry bodies representing the likes of Google, Facebook, Apple and Telstra to reject the government’s so called ‘encryption bill’.
Under the name of Alliance for a Safe and Secure Internet, the newly formed coalition wants the government to ‘slow down, stop and listen’ and not pass the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Bill 2018 in its current form.
The bill – introduced into the House of Representatives earlier this month just 10 days after a public consultation on an exposure draft ended – includes measures that would require service providers to cooperate with law enforcement investigations, in some cases by building new tools to allow user security to be bypassed.   

China inserted surveillance microchip in servers used by Amazon, Apple: report

5 October 2018 — 5:01am
China secretly inserted surveillance microchips into servers used by major technology companies, including Apple and Amazon.com, in an audacious military operation likely to further inflame trade tensions between the United States and its leading source of electronics components and products, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.
The article detailed a sweeping, years-long effort to install the surveillance chips in servers whose motherboards - the brains of the powerful computers - were assembled in China. One affected company had its servers used by US government clients, including Department of Defence data centres, Navy warships and the CIA in its drone operations.
The Chinese government's top diplomat Wang Yi said on Friday there was no cause for concern or panic over trade friction between Beijing and Washington, adding that China follows a path to "peaceful" development.

Call for more telecoms consumer safeguards

There has been a call for further safeguards to prevent consumers being misled about telecommunications billing charges in the wake of Telstra’s refunding of $9.3 million for misleading consumers over Premium Direct Billing charges.
The telecommunications consumer interest lobby group, Australian Communications Consumer Action Network, welcomed the Telstra refund decision, but says further consumer safeguards are needed to “prevent harm from occurring in the first instance”.
ACCAN has now put forward a number of key recommendations it wants to see implemented by the telecommunications industry, including that telcos must to be responsible for handling and resolving complaints from customers about third party charges.

NBN Co warns users about rising congestion

By Ry Crozier on Oct 4, 2018 12:01AM

The class war is real.

NBN Co has finally confirmed that congestion on its network will “fluctuate” - or increase - when it removes a temporary price offer at the end of this month.
The admission, to be published in an NBN blog post later today, confirms that a situation first revealed by iTnews back in April this year will indeed become a reality.
In March this year, NBN Co claimed that users experienced on average just 12 minutes a week of slow internet on its network, down from a high of “almost five hours” a year ago.
However, that number has slowly risen since, and is now at a shade over one hour, based on the most recent set of numbers NBN Co has published (albeit that these are over a month old).

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